Image: 49 3/8 x 17 in. (125.4 x 43.2 cm)
Overall with mounting: 85 1/2 x 21 in. (217.2 x 53.3 cm)
Overall with knobs: 85 1/2 x 23 3/4 in. (217.2 x 60.3 cm)
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Not on view
A poet, collector, and bibliophile, Jin Nong did not take up painting until the age of fifty. Known as one of the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou, Jin specialized in painting plum blossoms. He developed a distinctive style of calligraphy through the study of the squat clerical-script form of ancient stele writing.
Blossoming Prunus was painted for a high official only five years before Jin's death at age seventy-two. In his inscription, Jin speaks of the good fortune of the plum painters Yang Buzhi (1097–1169) and Ding Yetang (active mid-13th century), whose works gained imperial recognition. Jin then adds, jestingly:
"Now I, too, have done a likeness of latticed branches and scattered shadows. How might it also enter the Nine Enclosures [of the Forbidden City] and be submitted to imperial view?"
Signature: Inscribed, signed, dated 1759, one artist's seal
Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (6 columns in standard script):